Hint: it’s contextual.

While I’m not some super-jalop that wakes up in the morning and thinks “do I take the DS or the Donkervoort today?”, I do have some consistent jalop leanings:

  • All my cars have had manual transmissions, except for one $480 truck and one $500 van
  • Except for my e30, and the truck, everything I’ve owned has been a long-roof (hatch or wagon)
  • I’ve owned something like 18 vehicles, and the average age is about 23 years

That being said, this automatic, domestic, sedan is the car that I’ve been most excited about since I did my first engine swap:

I’ve got a few reasons for being so thrilled to have this vehicular appliance:

1. I drive about 700 miles/week on I-25 now.

I-25 is horrible. It’s full of drunk texters, mouth-breathing inbreds, and truckers who pass each other going uphill at 15 mph under the speed limit. I see a car on its roof in the median or ditch about once a week.

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The more fun a car is to drive, the more frustrating it is in this environment. Not just because you find yourself wanting to trade some lightness for A/C as you sit in traffic waiting for either the rubber-neckers to pass the inverted car, or to get past the on-ramp where everyone on the highway is inexplicably yielding to mergers, but also because you never really get to drive it. There are no curves, no real accelerating to be done; you’ll only get to use your fun car’s good brakes when everyone comes to a sudden halt because of a drizzle.

It this car, I don’t feel the need, or even the temptation to have fun while driving. I have my baffling infotainment (that really what they call it!) system and billions of satellite radio stations to keep me entertained as I sit in traffic, whereas before my only entertainment was trying to identify the exact character flaw that caused people to drive exclusively in the leftmost lane.

The soul-crushing commune is the natural environment of the soulless car.

2. It’s free!

This steaming pile of beige is a company car for my new job, which is one of the reasons that I’m so excited. It’s not only free for me to use as much as I want, but the gas I put in it is free, too. I only have to pay tax on the value of the gas for personal use. I’m astounded that 3 weeks in to my new position, and already they’ve bought a brand new car with a sticker price of $36 (or about 20x what I normally spend on a car). It’s a daily reminder that I made the right choice in leaving my previous job and that my new employers actually have some faith in me an values me to some degree.

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3. Miles don’t matter.

More jalop points usually means a car needs more time/money per mile driven, and wasting those miles on the interstate at a rate of 700/week is a crime. This car will get traded in at 60k miles. I won’t be sad to see it go, and won’t be sad to think of it being crushed one day.

Many of you may already be aware of the miracle of company cars, but to me, it really is an epiphany that not every car has to be awesome to be awesome.